General Practice

Legal Considerations for Rental Property Owners

August 6th, 2018

Posted in Business Law,General Practice,IRS & Tax Information,Real Estate Law

Many local governments have enacted laws which require the owner of a short term rental property to obtain a certificate or other permit in order to utilize the property as a rental. This regulation comes in addition to obtaining a license from the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, a local business tax receipt, and the remission of Florida Sales Tax to the Department of Revenue. The issue of regulating short term vacation rentals has also been addressed recently by the Florida legislature.
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Registering a Florida Business Entity? Beware of Suspicious Notices that Request Money for Certificates or Filing Fees

March 5th, 2018

Posted in Business Law,General Practice

Last year, the Florida Division of Corporations saw a total of 395,777 business entity filings.[1]  Some of these entities may have received correspondence from various companies, claiming the entity has “one step left in order to attain your elective Florida Certificate of Status and corporate agreement templates.”  The correspondence goes on to request a fee, usually approximately $70.00, with instructions for remitting payment.

Most, if not all, of this type of correspondence is not sent by the Florida Division of Corporations.  Once a business entity or registration is properly formed, incorporated, organized or registered on record with the Florida Division of Corporations, it is not required to purchase or receive a certificate of status to be considered valid.
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Considerations for Moving a Business to Florida

January 22nd, 2018

Posted in Business Law,General Practice,IRS & Tax Information

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which was signed into law on December 22, 2017, has far-reaching implications for many Americans.  However, one outcome that may affect all Floridians is the prospect of more neighbors.  The new federal tax bill generally favors more competitive, low tax states such as Florida.  In addition to added residents, Florida may see an increase in companies that call Florida home. For years, Florida has boasted a favorable tax climate for businesses.  Some tax incentives that attract business owners include a broad range of sales and use tax exemptions available to business, as well as the absence of corporate taxes for limited partnerships and some other entity forms, to name a few benefits.  
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IRS Scam Phone Calls

November 27th, 2017

Posted in General Practice,IRS & Tax Information

In the past few years, the IRS has continued to see instances of scammers who are targeting victims by telephone.  The scammers make aggressive and threatening phone calls to individuals, claiming that a warrant is out for his or her arrest for unpaid taxes.
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Buyer Beware of Ghosts: Does a Seller Have to Disclose Whether a House is Allegedly Haunted?

October 27th, 2017

Posted in General Practice,Real Estate Law

Each year, people visit St. Augustine to experience the rich history that comes with being the Nation’s Oldest City.  Visitors flock to learn about any number of our City’s offerings: the Castillo de San Marcos, which is the oldest masonry fort in in the continental U.S.; the Oldest Wooden School House; or Flagler College, built in 1888 as a luxury hotel for Henry Morrison Flagler.  But as any local will tell you, no visit to St. Augustine is complete without a good ghost story or two along the way.
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Post-Hurricane Irma Cleanup and Safety Tips for Community Associations

September 15th, 2017

Posted in Condominium & Homeowner Association Law,General Practice,Real Estate Law

As communities in Northeast Florida work toward recovering from Hurricane Irma, we would like to share a few important reminders for condominium, cooperative and homeowner associations. While the task of repairing and cleanup is extensive, communities should be on the lookout for the following “scams”:

  • Beware of government “officials” coming to your community offering to perform inspections. Require documentation and contact information from any such individual.
  • Many out of state “contractors” appear offering to do a free inspection of a roof or common areas and common elements. Ask for their licensing and contact information before entering into any contract for work.
  • Do not execute an Assignment of Benefits (“AOB”) without first contacting your insurance agent and attorney.
  • Beware of any contractor requiring a large down payment for “supplies”.

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Guardianships: New Laws Aim to Protect Society’s Vulnerable

August 18th, 2017

Posted in Estate & Personal Planning,General Practice

Friends and family members often worry about how to protect their elderly loved ones.  Particularly at risk are elders with advanced dementia, making them vulnerable to scammers and sometimes unable to take care of themselves. Florida’s Department of Elder Affairs reports that nearly 12% of Florida’s senior population has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, which often manifests through dementia. A visit to an attorney frequently leads to the discovery that estate planning, including advance directives that give voice to one’s future wishes and help avoid a guardianship, has not been done. As a result, guardianships are often considered as a last-resort solution. 
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The Property Deed as an Estate Plan: Examining the Varying Distributions of Each of the Co-Ownership Forms in Florida Real Property

August 4th, 2017

Posted in Estate & Personal Planning,General Practice,Real Estate Law

As the saying goes, “anyone who believes in free will has never heard of probate.”  Attorneys are frequently contacted by clients who need help navigating estates after the loss of a family member or friend.  Probate is often inevitable if there is property to be divided.
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